The Misled Hero
There is a type of person who gets their self-worth through adulation. They need to be viewed as the hero in order to feel good about themselves.
This is fairly common and we all have at least a little bit of this in us. We want to be acknowledged and recognized for our accomplishments. Some of us even start writing newsletters because of it.
(Editors Note: Speaking for a friend, of course)
However, there is a subset of this personality that believes too much in the myth of Hollywood. They believe that nobody can be a hero without a villain to conquer.
But there’s a catch. Rarely does a villain actually exist. There are a lot more villains in entertainment and the media than there are in real life.
This is especially true in the workplace.
Sure not everybody will always get along at work, but with everybody focused on the same ultimate goal, it’s very odd that a person will actually act the villain.
This presents a problem for the person who needs to be a hero. Without a villain, that wannabe hero has nobody to overcome. And without overcoming a bad person, they don’t have much self-worth.
So they change things.
When no villain exists, they create one. Consciously or not, they start to treat one or more of their colleagues as if they were the villain.
Just so we are on the same page, this is bad.
This is the antithesis of good leadership.
In most instances, the person chosen as the villain is usually someone the wannabe hero feels most threatening to their success.
So they vilify that other person. They try to demean that person. Sometimes they try to get that person fired.
After all, they believe that if only everybody else recognized the villain, then everybody will adulate the hero for overcoming them.
I’m sure you’ve seen these people in your workplace.
I once wrote about Shaun, a chap I worked with a long while back. Shaun was a pretty good salesperson who always needed to be adored. The problem is that he was a complete asswipe.
If anybody threatened his role as the “sales hero”, that person became his ultimate villain.
Along comes me, another sales-driven person who was more senior than Shaun. Despite my desire (and job) to support his efforts, Shaun felt that I was a threat to his hero status.
What did he do? He made me the villain on the day that I started – before we even met.
It was good times – you can read more about that here.
Suffice to say, it’s hard to work with these types of misled heroes.